Ten UHV students win awards for integrity, citizenship

UHV students celebrate winning the Spirit of the Jaguar award with university President Phil Castille, left, and Moses Olukoya, right, president of the Student Government Association. The winners, from second to the left, are Stephanie Tello, Matthew Herrera, Genesis Castillo, Jennifer Sanchez-Lozano, William Dawson-Hicks, Sheilat Akapo, Jessica Acuna, Mario Alaniz and Alejandro Lima. Patricia Negrete is not pictured.


Besides taking business classes and playing catcher on the Jaguars baseball team, University of Houston-Victoria sophomore Matthew Herrera also takes pride in his job as a resident assistant at Jaguar Hall helping 50 freshmen adjust to college living.

Herrera is one of 10 recipients of the 2013 Spirit of the Jaguar Award honored at the Aug. 29 UHV Convocation in Victoria. The award recognizes students for their integrity, leadership and citizenship.

“Being an RA is a big role to play, but I like that I am providing a good environment for UHV students,” Herrera said. “I’m trying to be the best role model I can be for the student body, so this award is a big deal for me.”

The other winners of the third annual Spirit of the Jaguar Award with their hometowns are:

  • Jessica Acuna, Houston
  • Mario Alaniz, Corpus Christi
  • Sheilat Akapo, Houston
  • Genesis Castillo, Houston
  • William Dawson-Hicks, Missouri City
  • Alejandro Lima, Pasadena
  • Patricia Negrete, Cedar Park
  • Jennifer Sanchez-Lozano, Cibolo
  • Stephanie Tello, Victoria

The winners each received a certificate and a $500 scholarship.

Before naming the recipients during Convocation, Moses Olukoya, a UHV senior and president of the Student Government Association, encouraged new students to follow the lead of the 10 winners by joining or creating student organizations and starting new traditions.

“UHV is a place where students can get involved and make a difference,” Olukoya said. “UHV allows its students to shine. The 10 outstanding students given this award have shown exceptional leadership skills and exemplified what it truly means to be a Jaguar.”

A panel of university staff members selected the winners.

Jay Lambert, UHV’s associate vice president for student affairs, said it’s important for the university to reward students who go above and beyond.

“The Spirit of the Jaguar awards are one way we recognize the valuable contributions these students have made inside and outside the classroom,” he said. “These 10 individuals have stepped up to serve their fellow students and the university.”

Sanchez-Lozano said it was nice that the university recognized the work she has put in for school and soccer. It was on the field that Sanchez-Lozano developed her leadership skills. The sophomore from Cibolo is the starting goalkeeper on the UHV women’s team.

“I’ve always felt like I need to look out for my teammates on the field and off the field my friends and family,” she said. “I kept that in mind when I arrived at UHV last year. I strived to be the same leader I was back home. I think I’ve been able to accomplish that.”

As the university continues to grow, Herrera, a sophomore from Katy studying management in the UHV School of Business Administration, said he encourages students to present ideas about how to better UHV.

“This is a good time to start traditions because you can leave a lasting legacy here,” Herrera said. “Students should get involved in shaping the future of the university.”

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro